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California removes Picacho from parks closure list
Picacho State Recreation Area will officially remain open. California was scheduled to close the park, located about 24 miles north of Winterhaven, on July 1 along with 70 other state parks because of budget cuts.
“California State Parks are pleased to announce that the Picacho State Recreation Area has been removed from the budgetary closure list,” said Michael Rodriques of California State Parks. â€¨“It was decided that there was no way to close the park and protect the structures that are there.”
The park had already received a temporary reprieve in late June when Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill allocating an additional $10 million to the California State Parks system next year.
“We thank Friends4Picacho and the Cuyamaca Rancho State Park Interpretive Association for their hard work helping to keep this beautiful park on the Colorado River open,” Rodriques added.
F4P is a nonprofit that was formed in an attempt to keep Picacho SRA open earlier this year. They have been raising money and have been in negotiations with the state to keep the park open.
“It's definitely a relief to know Picacho will stay open,” said Lorie Long of F4P. “The last six months have been both rewarding and stressful. We started Friends4Picacho in February as an advocacy group, and four months later were asked by State Parks to raise $60,000 by July 1. Knowing Picacho will stay open makes the hard work and support of all of our members worthwhile.”
Picacho SRA has been and will continue to be an important place where families and friends can gather together, Long added.
“Everyone who loves Picacho can take a deep breath and enjoy the park for another year. We all know how important it is to protect this unique pristine land with all of its cultural and natural resources.”
Financial support of Picacho through F4P will continue to be needed into the foreseeable future as the budget woes in California continue, Long added.
“Any additional funding will be used to sponsor some much needed interpretive and educational improvements at the park.”
Long invites those who enjoy Picacho SRA to get involved with the process of keeping it open.
“Get in the loop by becoming a member of F4P at Friends4Picacho.org,” she said. “We will be organizing volunteer opportunities and events at the park through our website and newsletter.”
A volunteer staff at the park will help to keep costs down in the future, and extend funding to keep the park open, Long said.
“This would enable Picacho to be self-sustaining, furthering our mission of keeping the park open for future generations to enjoy.”
Even those who do not want to volunteer or donate can support Picacho SRA simply by recreating there, Long added.
“Visit the park. Bring your family and friends. Pay your fees.”
The members of F4P are grateful to all who have contributed to keep the recreation area open.
“Friends4Picacho would also like to extend our sincere thanks to everyone who has offered their moral and financial support to help save Picacho from closure,” Long said.
Chris McDaniel can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6849.